Hem Paudel

Response, Sep 26

Both the essays from today’s reading list raise an important issue of English at work, English that is being adapted and appropriated for various purposes at various contexts. Spring demonstrates how English in “post-post-colonial” nations has served as a language that provides access to global market. It has become a language of prestige and a class marker in many places as it is often associated with access to better career prospects. In Lu’s article, she also addresses this issue of English and its association with power. But she develops a very nuanced approach to understanding English at work in a very complicated way, paying close attention to how it intersects with several other language practices (Englishes and other languages) and discourses. I’m interested in examining how these two approaches interact. How do we understand the ways these writers approach writing? Lu explicitly says that her writing won’t follow a disciplined structure of an essay: “In calling this an essay, I have in mind both sanwen, the Chinese term for “essay,” and the French verb essayer (attempt, try). The second character of sanwen, wen, connotes prose. The first character, san, can mean a series of actions: scatter, break up, or disperse. I am hoping that the spirit of essayer-san might embolden me to join literacy workers across the world in taking as many ‘necessary detours’ … as it takes to jiao against several established assumptions about the language needs of users of English that have often been used to perpetuate intraand international systems and relations of injustices in all areas of life” (17). How does her essay jiao with the writing conventions if it does so at all? Even if Spring also jiaos with writing conventions, his the way of jiaoing is perhaps different or at least my perception of it is. Bluntly speaking, I wonder what his “claim” is. That English is no more a language of domination? That English has been adapted to suit the purposes of the local contexts? That English as a global language still serves the interests of the West as it carries the value of industrial-consumer paradigm? That the notion of practice of industrial security state should be discarded for a new, more egalitarian, and organic model of education? Or does it have a specific claim at all? Is it simply a report about what’s happening across the world in terms of English? How does the concluding section (not the conclusion) relate to the rest? Does it look like it has been simply tacked on the essay? It seems to open up a completely new and complicated terrain of thought that may require a book or at least a new article to do justice to this interesting area. These questions were perhaps triggered to me by my readings of some of Canagarajah’s texts (only some) where, as Canagarajah himself said about his article under review for CCC, he seems to have made several claims. Is there any role of disciplinary/discursive/cultural grounds behind the differences in these writing styles? If my assumptions are true that they are resistant users of the dominant conventions in various ways, what has made these resistances possible? In exploring this question, I want to consider Lu’s essay. Resistance has been a highly saturated term. How is this used in Lu’s essay and what is informing her use of the term? She takes the designer (one source this term that comes from is Kress and the New London Group of which Kress was a part) of the “Collecting Money Toilet” sign board as a “resistant user of English working in concert with Native Americans, African Americans, and peoples across the world to use English against the englishes of their oppressors” (22). She also draws on de Certeau’s notion of tactics and also cites from Canagarajah’s account of resistance of English in Jafna. These references give a sense that the resistance occurs very “deliberately” and “consciously.” That the designer made a choice and a decision to resist the dominant discourse, the use of standardized English. But in her later section, she seems to sufficiently

with the kind of pedagogy that Lu envisions)? In other words. We can think of similar situations even outside the classrooms. how would Spring’s characterization of trends in various places in learning global English jiaos with Lu’s characterization of such practices as resistant acts? How would Spring’s examples from some Pakistani and Malaysian examples complicate it? . But I’m not sure whether the tension in defining resistance as a conscious and deliberate choice and decision and taking it as a more or less regular act of relocalizing the language use in different context is resolved in her essay? If I take the issue to writings of students in composition classroom.complicates the issue. how do we characterize the dissonances in several students’ writings while attempts at “mastering” English with a desire to join the dominant discursive practices (or perhaps to intervene in those practices) and their conscious attempts at introducing difference in their writing as a result of classroom teaching (esp. Similarly. how do we characterize Lu and Spring as resistant users (even they are different in their resistances) in relation to the designer of the sign board “Collecting Money Toilet”? Here. I’m not making a binary between the world inside the academy and outside.

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